Google plans to add a live transcription feature to its Google Translate app for Android at some point in the future. The feature will allow users to record audio in one language and have it rendered in another in real time. It’s still in the prototype stage, but Google gave a demonstration of the technology during a series of artificial intelligence demos at its San Francisco office on Tuesday.
The feature will likely require an internet connection at launch, Google says, which means it will differ from the AI-based and on-device translation features that are in Google Translate today. The company says this is because real-time multilingual transcription is more complicated than simply translating written text from one language to another or inputting single sentences of speech and rendering them into text in a different language.
It will not work with audio files, at least at first; it will have to be live audio captured through a smartphone microphone, although Google says you could always play recorded audio through a speaker and capture it that way.
Google says its transcription feature is constantly evaluating whole sentences as the audio is ongoing. From there, it’s adding punctuation, correcting certain word choices depending on the sentence’s context, and attempting to correct for things like accents and regional dialects. All the while, users should be getting what Google says is an accurate approximation of what’s being said, although the company expects the underlying AI models to improve significantly as time goes on.
There’s no concrete timeline for when Google plans to launch real-time transcription for Google Translate. The company is just saying it’s arriving at some point “in the future.”